The open secret of the dirty economy

Author: Gladwyn d'Souza | Category: Environment | Food | Health | Date: 02-20-2020


What is the opposite of the Green New Deal? The dirty polluting economy we take for granted-

It’s impossible to renounce the fossil fuel world. The road we travel on, the vegetables delivered on that road, the equipment used to farm the vegetables and transport the workers, the light switch we flip to flood our rooms with light, the plate we eat on, the shoes and clothes we wear- all belong to the fossil fuel economy. Last week I went to buy a pair of shoes. There were no all leather shoes at the store anymore- though they too would have been transported to the store with fossil fuels. Instead fossil fuels had penetrated the shoes themselves with man made soles, liners and tops. There were more faux leather shoes for sale that mixed leather with man made components. It’s almost impossible to find all cotton clothes as fossil fuel based nylons and stretch materials make up a some or all the components of what we wear today.

The goods and services of the “general economy” are the dirty polluting economy that creates and maintains climate change. It’s effect is directly measured in the Keeling Curve which is currently around 415 ppm of CO2. The Keeling curve naturally is reflect by the stock market! This is because the general economy is the extractive economy of fossil fuels though oddly we cherish the former and deplore the latter. The better we do in the economy the larger our carbon footprint. It takes money to buy and burn fossil fuels after all. Naturally our per capita income and green house gas footprints are among the largest in the world.

The worst aspects of the fossil fuels economy such as flying and eating meat require tremendous infrastructure and government bureaucracies to maintain. Take the expansion of the airport in San Jose for example. The Environmental Impact Report admits it will make a joke of the San Jose Climate Action Plan but explains that there are NO alternatives to the emissions growth that the expansion represents. Among environmentalist that eat red meat the option is to go for grass fed beef. But 90% of American grass fed beef is imported from countries where tribes are being exterminated so that their rain forests can be torched to grow beef.

These bureaucracies are maintained by our taxes and drive the bond market. Most cities do not have  a sustainability coordinator.  The next time you go to your city to beg for a sustainability coordinator just put that request in perspective. The persons you are talking to are responsible for the emissions that are toasting the planet. They are searching within the dirty polluting budget for scraps of money to begin addressing the problem. Without a restructuring of how public money is spent by a Green New Deal we have the dirty polluting economy of fossil fuels. And the next time someone brags about the environmental stewardship of some department just point them to the unrelenting rise in the Keeling Curve. 


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Audrey Kong
I agree with this author in which fossil fuels are a huge problem and many everyday things are causing more climate change. At school, we talk about climate change and how it is such a big issue. It seems as if the people with power are doing nothing about it. I remember watching a video on Greta ...Read more Thunberg and she said something like we are the future. The adults are not doing anything and we need to change that so we can have a future. I think that people's mindsets are just about how much money they can make rather than what change can they make to fix our environment Less
Jake Kim
I can't help but agree with what you have to say. The more lectures and articles about climate change that I've participated in or read, the more it seems as if the people who have the power to actually make a change aren't interested at all. Everything big decision that is made ...Read more revolves around money instead of the future of the youth of society. I don't think there will be any change until the influential people consider environment over money Less
Alexx February 24, 2020 8:45 am
Sue C.
Gladwyn; It all seems so overwhelming and so true: Most countries' economies run on fossil fuels because more and more products are made/shipped with fossil fuels and therefore, with economic expansion, the Keeling curve that measures the concentration of carbon in the atmosphere goes up. ...Read more Very depressing. To save our planet, we really need large structural changes in policies that will shift production, shipping, energy generation, etc., away from fossil fuels. Your story about trying to buy a pair of shoes and not being able to find shoes that were not "fossil fuels penetrated" really hit home the point--we live in a world saturated by fossil fuels and there's no escape. At least not now Less

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